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We've had a non-Christian president in the past - Journal of Omnifarious

Jan. 1st, 2006

10:11 pm - We've had a non-Christian president in the past

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And many think him the best president we've ever had. Though, IMHO, the civil war was a huge mistake (even though I think slavery was bad).

The quote that proves it.

Comments:

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From:spoonless
Date:January 2nd, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)
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From what I understand, none of the first three Presidents of the United States (George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson) were Christian. They were all deists (believed in God in the abstract, but not in a personal way and not in any Bible or particular religious doctrine).

I have a few quotes from Jefferson lying around:

"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors." - Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law" - Thomas
Jefferson
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From:omnifarious
Date:January 2nd, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
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I kinda knew that. But, it wouldn't be at all what the people who want to mix religion and politics would have you believe. And in this day and age, having an openly non-christian president would be nigh unthinkable.

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From:scottscidmore
Date:January 2nd, 2006 12:36 pm (UTC)
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Washington was rather private in regards to his beliefs, as such it's difficult to clear show how he would be labeled today.

Jefferson is easy. When he was old, ill, with many of his friends dead, and being hounded on his religion, he made some wishy-washy statements that are held up as proof of his being Christian. But the body of his writings and some public statements show this not to be so

The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, Aug. 15, 1820


http://www.nobeliefs.com/jefferson.htm

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/john_remsburg/six_historic_americans/chapter_2.html

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
Extracted Textually from the Gospels
Compiled by Thomas Jefferson

http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/


Madison also has a number of such statements

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?



An alliance or coalition between Government and religion cannot be too carefully guarded against......Every new and successful example therefore of a PERFECT SEPARATION between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance........religion and government will exist in greater purity, without (rather) than with the aid of government. [James Madison in a letter to Livingston, 1822, from Leonard W. Levy- The Establishment Clause, Religion and the First Amendment,pg 124]


http://atheism.about.com/library/quotes/bl_q_JMadison.htm

several of the first presidents, including Jefferson and Madison, generally refused to issue public prayers, despite importunings to do so. Under pressure, Madison relented in the War Of 1812, but held to his belief that chaplains shouldn't be appointed to the military or be allowed to open Congress. [Richard Shenkman, I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode Or Not]
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From:baerana
Date:January 2nd, 2006 09:14 am (UTC)
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Lincoln has another great quote, i don't remember it exactly and I'm too lazy to look it up ATM :)

"When I do good, I feel good, and when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion" - Lincoln
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From:memegarden
Date:January 2nd, 2006 09:28 am (UTC)
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Thank you for the link. In seeking confirmation or refutation of the quotes from other websites, I found much support and many wonderful anecdotes and quotations. I admire Lincoln all the more.
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From:omnifarious
Date:January 3rd, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
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You're quite welcome. :-)

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From:catarzyna
Date:January 2nd, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
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I teach about deism to my History 103 students, I wonder how many of them have made the non-Christian/Founding Fathers connection yet. I don't like to point out certain things. I try to see what they can figure out for themselves.
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From:morning_stand
Date:January 2nd, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
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Actually if you look into history a bit, you'll find that hardly any of the founding fathers were religious at all.



I bet I know where you got that quote :-D
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From:omnifarious
Date:January 2nd, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
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And you'd likely be right. :-)

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From:rosencrantz319
Date:January 2nd, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
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From:omnifarious
Date:January 2nd, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Though, IMHO, the civil war was a huge mistake...

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When you're invaded or attacked and you have to go to war to defend yourself.

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From:pisces3857
Date:January 3rd, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
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i'm trying to understand if you think slavery was a good idea?
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From:omnifarious
Date:January 3rd, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
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That is kinda badly worded. No, I think slavery was and is an awful idea.

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From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)

There is NO doubt that Washington or Adams were Christian.

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A simple look at history will tell you that. Read the book Original Intent by David Barton(the largest personal collector of writings and letters from the founding fathers) and then look at the Original Sources for yourself. And the after you do a bit of research let's have an informed conversation or discourse if you like. Just because Adams and the most saw how the mixing Ecclesiastical and Civil Governments perverted both does not mean they were not Christians.
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